WIZARDING SCHOOLS AROUND THE WORLD: NEW ZEALAND
The New Zealand Academy of Spellcraft is situated in an undetectable location in the bush lands of South Island so incredibly difficult to find due to its surroundings’ constant changes in appearance that even repeat visitors often have trouble finding the school. Many muggleborn students are raging fanatics of the All Blacks, and they have slowly converted the rest of the student population who used to thumb their nose at the mention of rugby. However, quidditch remains immensely popular, with students often sneaking out under the cover of night to play matches in the dark because it is “more challenging, and therefore, more fun,” despite the drastic increase in the number of injuries and dents in trees due to rogue bludgers growing slightly panicked in the dark. The school prides itself on its large and prestigious herbology department; international witches and wizards often take on extended environmental studies at the academy, so students are always on the lookout for lost foreigners stumbling around. Often times when they graduate, students of distinction are gifted with Pounamu ornaments that are embedded into the handles of their wands as a reminder for them to always be at peace with their surroundings.
Te Kura Aotearoa (yes, crappy name. Couldn’t think of anything better) is located in the mountainous regions of Fiordland where few people live. Well hidden by lush forests grown by the magic of the school. One of the youngest official institutions, Te Kura was originally a place used by the native Maori to learn the ways of magic. After the European wizards exterminated them in the 1800’s, the grounds were made an certified magical learning academy as an act of apology, giving the native magical community back a place that had been taken from them.
Te Kura is famed for its studies in both Herbology and Magizoology, particularly involving birds and reptiles. The plants around the school grounds have developed strange properties and some have been specifically grown to provide camouflage to outdoor students. One particular incident involving an ambitious student led to a small colony of living Moa inhabiting the area, which has caused a bit of a stir among Muggles during the odd sighting.
Despite being an ancestral place for the Maori people, European (or Pakeha) witches and wizards are welcome on campus. Several unique wand woods are used by New Zealand magic users, including Pohutikawa, known to be flashy and good for transfiguration, Silver Fern, supple and hard to fashion but very resilient and adaptable, and Kauri, hardy and powerful wood that is highly sought after.
The school mascot is modeled after a Taniwha, some think it may be the one that lives in the rivers on the grounds.